Although the Society of Jesus was no stranger to local suppressions and banishments that had studded its history from the beginning, the Jesuit crises that broke out between the 1750s and 1768—the expulsion from Portugal and the Bourbon States (France, Spain, King of Naples, and Duchy of Parma)—culminated in a dramatic event of far more enduring global impact: the suppression of the order by Pope Clement XIV with a specific brief (Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773). During the age of suppression (1773–1814), many Jesuits managed to maintain a memory of their former identity while carving out successful new careers or continued, relatively untroubled, with their existing intellectual and religious endeavors. Some of these gave a crucial contribution to Europe’s intellectual and cultural life between the 1770s and 1820s. The worldwide restoration of the Society took place on August 7, 1814, when Pius VII signed the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Luís Miguel Carolino
Jesuit scholars took part in all the major scientific controversies in the field of astronomy and cosmology, and taught generations of philosophers in Europe. Jesuit missionaries disseminated novelties of Western astronomy as far as China and Japan. Historians have tended to perceive Jesuit astronomers as a homogeneous group, unified by a common religious program. This chapter challenges that view and argues that Jesuit scholarship evolved from defending a traditional Aristotelian-Ptolemaic worldview to advocacy of a Tychonic cosmology, and eventually supporting, in some cases, a Newtonian view of the universe. Jesuit astronomers and philosophers also disagreed among themselves on fundamental questions. In a word, there was no “Jesuit astronomy”. However, this learned community was particularly affected by official efforts to maintain doctrinal uniformity, as the debate on Copernicanism demonstrates. Although those institutional constraints did not fossilize Jesuit astronomical learning, they contributed to diverting it away from the scientific mainstream.
This essay provides an account of the historical and thematic features of Catholic sacramental theology during the Baroque age. Its intent is primarily bibliographic, and hopes to introduce readers to the wide range of sources by which theologians of this time period constructed their grand syntheses, including the renewed traditions of scholasticism, polemical theology, mystical and devotional literature, liturgical studies, and the newly emergent Tridentine curia. Some of these developments will be outlined in three sections: (1) a brief bibliographic survey of the sources for early modern Roman Catholic sacramental theology; (2) an outline of some of its main scholastic controversies; and (3) a corresponding outline of the various attempts of the Holy Office to answer questions that arose in sacramental theology between the years 1500 and 1800.
Peter Joseph Fritz
This essay considers Catholic responses to Heidegger under three headings: rejection, warm acceptance, and critical appropriation. Erich Przywara and Alasdair MacIntyre reject Heidegger; Bernhard Welte and Jean-Luc Marion accept; Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner take Heidegger to be a worthy, if flawed, conversation partner. The extent to which a given theologian reads Heidegger as possibly in conversation with or as simply opposed to Thomist metaphysics functions as a guide to different attitudes of engagement with Heidegger. The more a Catholic warms to Thomas the cooler they become towards Heidegger. The essay ends by suggesting a continued engagement with Heidegger because doing so has stimulated Catholic consideration of the nature of revelation and the openness of the finite toward the infinite.
Anthony Akinwale OP
This chapter introduces Catholic theology in Africa. The encounter between Africa and Christianity is divided into three periods. The first of these runs from the beginning of Christianity to AD 1500. During this period Christianity flourished and produced some of the major theologians of the patristic period, and then survived with difficulty after the rise of Islam. The second period runs from AD 1500 to 1800. During this period there were certainly African priests and African seminaries, but little theological writing. The third period covers AD 1800 to the present day. This chapter considers the many theological voices and movements of this period beginning with inculturation theology and liberation theology, and ending with critiques of these movements and the emergence of a more firmly doctrinal theology in recent decades.
Kevin P. Spicer
Catholic and Protestant churches were on-lookers and sometimes worse, as their responses to persecution included forms of inaction that spilled over into complicity. Beginning with an examination of the corrupting influence of Catholic antisemitism on European Christians through the centuries and the role of religious prejudice in advancing racial antisemitism, this article explores the controversial choices and modulated actions of the Catholic Church. It gives particular attention to German Catholicism's response to the question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ and assesses the reaction and attitude of the Church hierarchy, especially Pope Pius XII (1876–1958), to Nazi acts of persecution.
Christian D. Washburn
This chapter considers two important ecumenical councils of the Church in the modern era: Trent (1545–63) and Vatican I (1869–70). The chapter examines in detail the key teachings of each council. The reform decrees of Trent will only be discussed in so far as they touch upon dogmatic decrees. In the case of Trent the chapter identifies the key documents from the many sessions of the council over its twenty-year history, offering a clear guide to ways in which its teachings on revelation, grace, and justification offered a precise Catholic response to the emergent theologies of Protestantism. Vatican I’s key teachings on revelation, the knowledge of God, and the status of the papacy are similarly treated.
Patrick Goujon SJ
The attitude of Jesuits toward elites sheds light on their relationship to society at large, considered as a relationship between an “interior” and an “exterior”: the “interior” projects itself toward the “exterior” in its mission, while the “exterior” is attracted toward the “interior” to ensure recruitment (vocations) and financial and political support (apostolic foundation). The Society of Jesus, as a religious order, a religious utopia, enlists the elite in two ways: not only interior to its ranks but also towards the exterior, and not only as potential recruits (vocation) or support (foundation) but also in making them, by means of the colleges, a way of attaining the objective of contributing to the “common good.” Jesuits integrate and invert the values of the elite, maximizing their qualities in the service of a social project serving the poor: the just governance of society.
This chapter considers the Christian doctrine of the end of all things and the character of our hope about that end. The chapter begins with an introduction to the ‘Parousia’, the coming of Christ at the end of time. It then considers the resurrection of the dead, the renewal of the cosmos—the establishment of the new heavens and new earth—and the final judgement. A consideration of heaven is matched by discussion of how Christians should imagine scriptural teaching on perpetual retribution. The chapter then considers how Christian eschatological doctrine shapes our experience in the world. The chapter closes with a treatment of purgatory and the space between death and resurrection.
Alexander R. Pruss
This article focuses on the question of whether the doctrine of the real presence of Christ's body and blood, and likewise the doctrine of the real absence of bread and wine, can be defended philosophically. It argues for an affirmative answer, and does so by considering a variety of metaphysical models, including that of Aquinas. It will appear, thus, that transubstantiation is a philosophical possibility. If it is possible for two substances to be in the same place at the same time, consubstantiation will be a philosophical possibility as well. Of course, the question of actuality is a theological one.
This chapter outlines the less studied finances of Jesuit overseas missions in the early modern period, drawing from incomplete sources for Portuguese Asia and more substantial primary sources (and secondary literature) for Spanish America. It discusses several conceptual points: How did Jesuits and outsiders reflect on their wealth? How and why was the relationship between God and Mammon problematic? In what regions were the Jesuits wealthy, and was this a result of Jesuit managerial skills? The chapter provides an overview of Jesuit missions’ finances through four sources of income: state patronage, private benefactors, trade, and lands/properties. While it is impossible to exhaustively discuss the finances of every Jesuit mission through these categories, female donors and the finances of Jesuit missions in China are given special attention.
The historical literature on the Jesuits appeared as soon as the Society was founded. A significant portion of this literature was written by Jesuits themselves. Anti-Jesuit writings likewise have made up some of the material, and confessional politics dominated the field for several centuries. The first half of the twentieth century saw a relative lull in scholarly activity. In recent decades, non-Jesuits and non-Catholics have played a much greater role in Jesuit historiography, and much of the most recent scholarship on Jesuit history is innovative in its interdisciplinary and postconfessional aspects. Currently, the field of Jesuit historical studies is arguably the most lively it has ever been, with online publications and new reference works appearing regularly.
Thomas Joseph White OP
This chapter explores the basic structure of Christian teaching about the Holy Spirit—pneumatology. The chapter considers, first, the biblical presentation of the Spirit and then explores the decisive contribution of theological debates in the fourth century ad. The contributions of the Cappadocian fathers and St Augustine of Hippo are considered. The chapter then focuses on the Filioque clause in the Latin version of the Nicene Creed, and the contribution of St Thomas Aquinas. It then goes on to explores the possibilities for ecumenical convergence on pneumatology, with a final discussion emphasizing the Spirit’s role as the soul of the Church.
This chapter analyzes the role that accommodation, dissimulation, equivocation, and mental reservation played in Jesuit spirituality, theology, and culture. These doctrines came to represent a fundamental component of the religious, theological, and intellectual identity of the Society of Jesus. Indeed, Ignatius Loyola himself made discreción one of the principles differentiating the Society from all other Catholic religious orders. The chapter demonstrates the centrality that these forms of accommodation and dissimulation acquired in the political, religious, and intellectual history of the early modern world, becoming useful tools to articulate one’s political and religious allegiance and thus becoming an integral part of post-Reformation culture. As post-Reformation Catholicism assumed an increasingly global dimension, these doctrines became politically, spiritually, theologically, and hermeneutically necessary for the Catholic missionaries to approach, come to terms with, and adapt to geographically and culturally different contexts, places, and people.
James E. Kelly
This chapter concentrates on the English Jesuit Mission following its inception in 1580. It opens by examining Jesuit navigation of the issues surrounding religion and politics, arguing that it was impossible for the Jesuits’ activities not to have been considered political due to the entwining of the temporal and the spiritual in England. The second part of the chapter explores the Jesuits’ effect on the character of English Catholicism, both in how it was viewed by outsiders and in how it influenced the community’s self-understanding in relation to the Catholic Reformation. The final section considers the wider contexts of the English Jesuit mission through its links to mainland Europe, arguing that events on the periphery of Catholic Europe helped shape its centers. The English Jesuits were part of an international movement active in a specific national story.
Stuart M. McManus
As part of their missionary projects in the Americas and Asia, the Society of Jesus undertook the systematic study of many native languages. In codifying and applying these languages, the Jesuits relied heavily on their humanistic training, mapping non-European grammars and rhetorics onto humanist models, which in turn had to be adjusted for these new contexts. In this way, Jesuit humanism became something akin a “world philology,” not in its universality but in its ability to interact with learned traditions from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, producing hybrid textual cultures that became naturalized in the Christian societies that grew up in the wake of Iberian expansion and Jesuit missions. This chapter will look in particular at the cases of Guaraní from Paraguay and Konkani from western India.
Despite its difficult gestation, the Jesuit mathematical schools, thanks to Christoph Clavius, gained great prestige in a short time. The Society of Jesus, therefore, provided a fertile ground for mathematical and astronomical studies. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, many generations of scholars had been trained in schools of the Society of Jesus. Jesuit mathematicians were interested in scientific innovation and they contributed original research to all scientific disciplines of the time, in addition to playing a key role in spreading scientific knowledge. Many Jesuits have an important place in the history of mathematics. Their handbooks and scientific texts were used and highly regarded by the greatest European mathematicians. In this chapter, we give an account of the events that characterized the birth and the developments of the Jesuit mathematical education, by focusing mainly on European assistances in addition to a brief account of Jesuit mathematical missions in Asia.
This chapter analyzes the institutional structure of the Society of Jesus and the norms available to guide its members. It discusses its founding normative text, the Constitutions, and all the subsequent additions and debates about it, as well as the way the Jesuits reflected on social organization and legislation in a wide and long historical perspective. In the last section, the chapter turns from lawmaking and prescriptive thought to daily life to evaluate the importance of the legal and institutional framework for each individual Jesuit. The chronological span of the chapter ranges from 1540 up to the twenty-first century, highlighting continuities in Jesuit legal and administrative thought, but also taking into account some key changes that occurred recently.
Claudia von Collani
The rites controversies in China and India were part of a larger debate on the status of rites and customs in an already global world and within global Catholicism. To understand the deeper meanings of Chinese and Indian concepts and rites and assess their compatibility with Christianity, the Jesuits proposed a method based on dialogue with the local literati. First tolerated, the method of accommodation was finally forbidden by the Catholic Church in the early eighteenth century out of fear of religious syncretism, which led to the stigmatization of other cultures’ rites as “pagan” and “superstitious.” Therefore, Christianity remained a foreign and marginal religion in the East until the reform of the liturgy in the twentieth century, when the Indian ritual practices were accepted. After the decree “Ad Gentes” by Vatican II, the Catholic Church endeavored to bridge the gap between cultures and religions, partly created during the rites controversy.